The Deficit of Cooperative Attitudes and Trust in Post-transition Economies

Maria Lissowska (Warsaw School of Economics)

Abstract: Different empirical research has suggested a deficit of cooperative attitudes and of social trust in post-transition countries. The objective of this paper is to consider the characteristics and determinants of the propensity to cooperate in post-transition countries and to measure the degree to which they differ from other European countries. In the first part of the paper the notions of trust and cooperative attitudes are discussed. Next, the literature on the sources of the propensity to cooperate is reviewed. Further, the hypotheses on particular barriers to cooperation and trust in post-transition countries are discussed. The report of the results of research based on the ESS follows. The taxonomy of European countries based on the features of cooperative attitudes and the results of econometric research on the factors impacting on trust are provided. It is found that, while it is true that post-socialist countries have substantially lower trust in general society, it is rooted more in lower quality of political institutions than in lower trustworthiness of the members of the society. Those countries share the general pattern of factors of trust with the other European societies, in which trust does not depend any more on associative activity but, besides quality of institutions, on individual optimism, mind openness and education. The major feature of post-socialist societies is also distrustfulness of younger generation including this brought up after transition.

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